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Fun ways to make faces with students

Scotch College Student cartoons from workshop.
Scotch College Student's cartoons from workshop.

Scotch College Student’s cartoons from workshop.

Teaching facial expression is one of my favourite activities. I recently work-shopped with the delightfully well-mannered students at Scotch College doing just that.

For further practice , I encouraged the boys to pull faces in a mirror to copy. Exaggerated faces help us understand how the different parts of the face alter our expression. Cartoon faces often utilize the eyebrows in particular to express emotion. In children’s books facial expression is important. You don’t want stuffed mannequin-looking characters that are all facing front when trying to illustrate an expressive story – well I don’t anyway.

Joining forces with over a dozen Ford Street Publishing authors for a special Ford Street festival we enjoyed a day of fun with staff and students. It was a whole day event. Together, myself and Victoria Lane (author of Celia and Nonna) worked with 3 groups of very enthusiastic boys. Victoria spoke to the students about herself as an author and journalist and did a small writing exercise. I stepped the students through a fast-paced practical exercise in drawing cartoon faces. There wasn’t a lot of time so I was particularly impressed with the results.

At the end of the class I asked the students, “Can you draw cartoons now?” With faces beaming, they all echoed a resounding ‘YES!”

For the teachers looking for the cheat sheets I mentioned they are here.

Well done boys!

Scotch College author visit for Ford Street Publishing Event

Scotch College author visit for Ford Street Publishing Event. Victoria Lane

Victoria Lane


2 replies
  1. Margaret Dewar
    Margaret Dewar says:

    I can imagine where this lesson will lead some of those kids. Their imagination will be spurred on and they will love it. The results you got in a short time are amazing, they must have loved your session with them.

    • Kayleen
      Kayleen says:

      Hi Margaret,

      Yes they were pretty pumped when they finished. I would love to see what they do after the session. It wasn’t a great deal of time but they caught hold of the idea which will set them up for lots of experimenting. I think the teachers were keen to do more with them at a later date too. It is incredibly good fun.


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